Always the absurd


I consider myself a capable woman. I am attentive to my health and wellbeing, ever striving to better the fascinating contradictions of the body I was given, and the body I have made. I exercise and eat healthy, though I am also given to sloth and gluttony on occasion. As I approached my birthday, I renewed my efforts to not lose more ground than is absolutely necessary and so I promised myself to run more miles each week, and added fish oil at the insistence of a friend who swears by its benefits for those like myself given to that sloth and gluttony I mentioned. I have resisted other popular/faddish trends by successfully hiding under blankets with coffee and doughnuts, but this seemed like a doable thing. I was wrong.


These are ridiculously large supplements. I find it difficult to believe the company that makes these could not package the healthful dose in anything, ANYTHING smaller for consumption. After failed attempts to choke these down, I suggest (in frustration) that it’s possible I am taking them incorrectly. It occurs to me that perhaps it was an error in judgment on my part to say this to my husband who is clearly incapable of restraining himself from further commentary on the matter, accompanying his clever witticisms with inappropriate pantomime depicting alternative ways to…ingest them. He is quite pleased by the amount of water passing through my nose, and is essentially high fiving this masterful accomplishment, appreciating as only a guy can, the charmed cause and effect of a well timed bawdy joke. Thankfully, he appears to love me as I am, being an enabler of doughnut consumption , and an enthusiastic hiking companion in equal measure. The absurdity of life continues, so please hand me my running shoes, and pass me a pastry to go.

Cultured and refined: One mothers futile search

Dignity. Ever dignity. That was my father’s motto, and like the dutiful children my siblings and I were, we endeavored to strip him of it. Every chance we got. Our good fortune lay in his tireless patience and humor.

My own sojourn into parenthood lead me along much the same path. The eternal lessons in humility, panic, patience, and the art of field stitching wounds, finding lost items, locating public bathrooms for pea sized bladders, and cultivating a level of civilized behavior in my offspring suitable for general audiences. It’s a bumpy road, to say the least. To say the most…well, entire libraries of books on the subject already litter the landscape. I will spare you the unabridged version.

I love my children. I am continually amazed by their brilliance (which they get from their dad) and their keen sense of humor, sliding often into the dark, irreverent side, which I am certain they get from me. At every opportunity I have thrust upon them to become cultured and refined, they have proven time and again that my genetic contributions to their proper sensibilities has won out. Shenanigans and tomfoolery ensue.

I have, maybe, 3 or 4 pictures over the past 20 years in which my children are looking at the camera and smiling nicely. I have thousands more where not a single one of them was able to master the self control necessary for a 20 second photograph.

My albums, the records of my beautiful children, read like a year book for the local insane asylum. Why does this make me ridiculously proud?

Reaching for the sea

I thought of all of the things that could be done, the fires to be put out, the chores and business of the day. I looked out at the cloudless, blue September sky, the bright welcoming warmth still in its touch. I though of the shortening days, the lengthening nights, and the long months of winter ahead. I thought of these things and felt every fiber of my being yearn for the sea, and the sand, and the sound of the waves, and I left my cares behind. I grasped the chance to wrap myself in the moment. Looking out now across the white, snowy expanse, chilled and frosty in the evening air, I close my eyes and reach through my memories for the sea.

A few inches closer to heaven



 Rubberless wheels, corse leather straps with tiny buckles lashing my sneaker shod feet to the flat metal slats that slid all the way out for my growing feet. I loved them. They made me feel tall and strong and fast. They were bare bones, and glamour-less, lacking subtlety and style, loud and rattling. They magnified every pebble and patch of sandy pavement with shin shaking vibrations and song. They were freedom to my childish mind. My heart thudding wildly, wind in my hair, gliding along a few inches closer to heaven. 

“On the Way home”

On the way home

 

“On the way home” is a phrase that most people consider to refer to a point on the map between a starting point and a final destination.  You know, like “I’ll stop for milk on my way home from work”, or “I’ll pick up your kid on my way past your house for basketball practice”, because those things are conveniently place in between point A and point B. “On the way home” is a small favor to do, not even a favor really, since your going pretty much right past that thing or kid to get where you were going to go anyway, right? You really only need to break a little, maybe even stop the car so the extra kid can dive roll in and buckle up as you rev the engine and bring the car back to top speeds with out skipping a beat. My friends and I do it all the time for each other, mostly because while we like each other, it is pretty much ON THE WAY, so why not? If your kid lived across town and I had to drive in some crazy triangle just to get your kid before driving in a totally opposite direction, I certainly wouldn’t consider it “on the way” and while I would still do it for you, it would ABSOLUTELY be a favor.  I might even grumble on occasion, as I’m sure you would. Muttering under my breath as I add extra time to do this THING for my friend because it meant heaving my lazy butt off the couch and into a cold car on a dark night that much sooner. I mean, I love you all, really I do, and I will always help you out and I won’t even complain out loud. I don’t need to since having a continual internal dialogue going on in my warped brain anyway, that would terrify most sane people.

I’ll talk and rail at myself in the privacy of my brain. No need to expose you to all that. Anyway, the point is while I will do this for you anytime, I don’t consider it “on the way”, that’s all. Here’s the thing that amazes me though: My parents are always saying this to me. “Honey, we thought we would just stop by on the way home from your sister’s.

My sister, it should be noted, lives two and a half hours south of me, and my parents live an hour south of me so I am most definitely NOT on their way home. They’ll stop by “on their way home” from points across the globe, and always with arms full of things they picked up shopping (that they will never use) that they figure we can use/need/like.

They are amazing. It hasn’t mattered how long their flight back from a sojourn somewhere wonderful was; still they will call and say, “We thought we would swing by on our way home…” They have logged more out of the way miles than that guy from “Dumpsters, dives and diners” has and all in the name of coming to me “on their way home”.

When my Dad and Mom say “on the way home” what they are really saying is “I love you”.  Like Wesley in the Princess Bride movie who’s “as you wish” was really “I love you”. My parents have ways of saying this that at first go unnoticed for the expression it really is. I am not “on the way home” for them, not by any stretch of the imagination, but for my mom and dad, I will always be “on the way home. And, you know what?  I love them too.

The Double Dog Dare Of Motherhood

The Double Dog Dare Of Motherhood

A dare. That’s what most of motherhood is: one, giant, everyone’s watching DARE. Actually, it’s the ultimate dare. The DOUBLE DOG DARE, the dare from which there is no backing down, no saying “pass”. It’s the dare to end all dares and everyone is watching. It’s you against the unknown challenge. You somehow know instinctively that it will involve being outside of your comfort zone, and also, probably, a little humiliation for laughs.      

It’s worth it, don’t get me wrong, but you WILL be the subject of many, many blackmail worthy pictures your kids are probably assembling into a final presentation for your commitment hearings. Don’t worry, you’ll have your day in court. Two can play at this game after all. I mean your average teen will melt in horror at any public demonstration of your singing…and your choice in outfits? Go for flamboyant costumes and I guarantee you will walk across that parking lot ALONE.

If anyone had been completely upfront with me about the huge leaps of faith, the near constant blindfolded trust walks, and the outright make-it-up-as-you-go-along technique required to shepherd those adorable, pudgy, toothless babies through their teen years and beyond, I might have run the other way.

But then again, I would have missed out on the best ride of my life. Go on and try it. I DARE you. Slap on your war paint and get ready to get down and dirty because being a mom is many things, and I wouldn’t trade a single one of them. Bring. It. ON.

Fairly in control

Fairly in control
I am, most days, a fairly in control person. On those other days, the fearsome ones during which the illusion of control over life that I cling to seems like so much water slipping between my fingers, I am a terrifying, whirling dervish of frantic energy. My kids, who I adore more than life, who I in point of fact labored to bring INTO this life, run my calendar with activities and school work and affairs of the heart (or at least transportation to and from play dates, and romantic dates, and dates that escape description). In short: I am a free, glorified taxi service. I am at the beck and call of adorable tyrants, minions who managed to take over the kingdom, demanding supplies, sustenance, last minute accommodations, all of which I squeeze between the constraints of my actual, full time job coordinating education programs for a few hundred other adorable tyrants belonging to other harried, glorified taxi drivers. I try to keep everything straight from who needs to go where, to who needs what and when. I try to hold onto the times and locations and people I have meetings with, the myriad details, the minutia. Some times I succeed. Sometimes I fail SPECTACULARLY. When I do, I feel less and less like the one at the helm and more like the one in the brig. Sticky notes are a favorite visual planner for me. I post them all over my office, my books, my house, my car in an impressive variety of shapes and colors all coded to specific tasks and persons. I can be found at times amidst a flurry of falling notes peeling away and floating down like a blizzard of duty. I have noticed how reluctant others are to approach me during the heights of my crazed organizational chaos, backing slowly away from me, uttering placating words, smiling nervously before they turn and run. This confuses me since clearly I am in control. At least. I am fairly in control. For now.

Controlled chaos
Controlled chaos